Condemning brutal attack on Hong Kong journalist

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

His Excellency Zhang Junsai
Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Canada
515 St. Patrick Street
Ottawa, ON K1N 5H3

Dear Ambassador,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE is troubled by the recent violent attack on Kevin Lau, a Hong Kong journalist and former Chief Editor of Ming Pao newspaper, sparking concerns regarding deteriorating press freedom in the more autonomous region of China.

Kevin Lau is in critical condition after being attacked with a meat cleaver by two unknown assailants on Feb 26 in Sai Wan Ho. The attackers fled the scene after Lau had sustained six knife wounds across his back and legs, resulting in life-threatening injuries to his lung. This brutal attack came just days after a massive anti-censorship rally against the sudden removal of Lau as Ming Pao's Chief Editor in January. Under Lau's direction, Ming Pao performed numerous investigations of the political elite in mainland China and Hong Kong, exposing corruption and human rights violations. Lau was then replaced by Malaysian journalist Chong Tien Siong, who was perceived by many to support a more pro-Beijing editorial line. This series of events has spurred widespread outcry from journalists in Hong Kong, condemning the suppression of press freedom by corporate owners with ties to Beijing and continuing threats against front-line journalists.

According to a report by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the climate for press freedom in Hong Kong has been worsening as the growing influence of Beijing is jeopardizing media independence in the region. CJFE calls upon the Hong Kong Government to thoroughly investigate the attack on Kevin Lau and bring those responsible to justice. CJFE also presses the government to take measures to ensure a safer working environment for journalists and preserve freedom of expression in the region.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Arnold Amber, CJFE President